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Mariana and the Merchild: A Folk Tale from…
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Mariana and the Merchild: A Folk Tale from Chile

by Caroline Pitcher

Other authors: Jackie Morris (Illustrator)

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Mariana was a lonely old woman that lived by the sea. She received fish and wood to burn from it; she thought of it as her mother. She also longed for company, but the children would always run away from her. One night, there was a bad storm so she hid out of sight of the sea-wolves that would hide and wait near the village. The next morning, Mariana found a crab, big enough for her to eat from for days, however, when she got home she realized it was a merchild. She took her down to the sea to return her back to her mother, but the sea spirit reassured her that the sea brought the merchild for her. The mechild brought Mariana great happiness and love but she knew the day would come when she would have to leave. That day finally arrived and Mariana felt sad and lonely once again. The merchild still visits the old woman everyday and she is no longer lonely as the kids have found friendship in her. This book reminds me of "The Little Mermaid," in which the mermaid must give up her life in the sea in turn for a human soul, however, they are extremely different. The setting of "Mariana and the Merchild" is in Chile showing its beautiful beaches and huts on every page. Also, the people in Chile have dark skin and it is noted how much lighter the Merchild is compared to the others. Sometimes, what we want in life isn't for the best. The Merchild belongs in the sea with her mother, and Mariana has realized that. She is thankful that she has found friendship within her community, and that is something to look forward to in its self. ( )
  Sierra.Coupel | Sep 17, 2016 |
Unfortunately, there's no author's note... this claims to be a traditional folk tale, but without some sort of note or bibliography I'm not convinced.  Still, it's a lovely little tale, and it could be from any culture that know of mer-people.  The art is full of expression and color, but not too busy or scribbly.   Recommended. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
A lonely old woman finds a merchild on the beach when she is foraging for food. She takes in the child and loves her like her own. She meets the child's mother, who tells her she needs the old woman to take care of her until it is safe for her to come home. She knows her heart will be broken some day, but raises her anyway. When her mother comes back to take her home, she is heartbroken, but knows it is for the best. The merchild comes back to visit her and all the other people of the village from then on, which brings her together with her community. I think this book can be read from around 2nd grade and above. ( )
  murandapatanda | Mar 13, 2016 |
Mariana lives by the sea and she feels as if the water is her mother. Gives her food, wood, and other essentials. She knows that deep down in the sea is seawolves and other dangerous creatures. Mariana is very lonely because the children do not like her. She discovers a merchild and takes care of it. The merchild befriends the younger people and helps Mariana do the same. The merchild goes back to his mother and still visits Mariana. Now the people of the village consider Mariana a friend. This book is about friendship and how important it is to life. ( )
  SadieCooney | Apr 28, 2015 |
This picture book is a folktale for children from K-5th grade. It is a Chilean tale about an old woman who lived by the sea. She was lonely, and the village children were afraid of her, she had no friends and she lived a sad life. One night, there was a terrible storm and Mariana hid in her hut from the dangerous winds and ravenous sea wolves. The next morning, she stepped outside, and the storm brought an abundance of fresh fish and shell fish for Mariana to eat. As she was gathering the food, she found a large cab shell. She brought it back to her house, and suddenly the crab shell cracked in two, and inside was a baby mermaid. Mariana was struck by her beauty, and took her into the village to confer with the wise woman for advice. Mariana was told to lay the baby down at the shore, and wait for the Sea Spirit to claim their child. Mariana did what she was told, and eventually the mother of the baby mermaid appeared. The mother told Mariana to watch over her baby until the sea is safe enough of her. Mariana was ecstatic that at last she would have a child to love. She raised the baby mermaid, and all of the village children began visiting her hut every day to play with the merchild. However, the day Mariana had to return the merchild back to the sea came, and with a heavey heart she let the child go. She was sad, but the village children comforted her, and Mariana was never alone again.
The central theme of this story is that you will be rewarded for selflessness and doing what is best for others. Though Mariana dreaded returning the merchild back to the sea, she knew it was where she belonged and it wouldn’t be right to keep her from her home. She even contemplated keeping the merchild hidden for herself, but then she thought, “No. The Merchild is from the sea. I must let her return, even though I will be alone gain.” After she did what was best for the merchild, Mariana was rewarded with love and friendship from the village children, and she was no longer alone. ( )
  BeckieZimmerman | Feb 25, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Caroline Pitcherprimary authorall editionscalculated
Morris, JackieIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802852041, Hardcover)

Old Mariana longs for friendship, but she is feared by the village children and fearful of the hungry sea-wolves that hide in the sea-caves near her hut. When one day Marianna finds a Merchild inside a crab shell her whole life changes- but she knows that one day, when the sea is calm again, the Merchilds mother will come to take her back. A memorable story of unconditinal love, this poetic retelling of a traditional South American folk tale beautifully conveys the joy that may come if you open your heart to what you cannot keep.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:13 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A childless old woman is given a merbaby to raise until the child can safely return to the sea.

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